5.4 Describe methods of educating children and adults in effective food management.
Giving children healthy food is just a part of encouraging children to eat healthily; there are other issues to be considered. We need to be aware of how much food a child needs over the course of a day. Too much food can cause a child to gain weight and too little food could cause a child to be undernourished. Portion control is important to ensure a child is having the correct amount of food. Showing parents a sample of a day’s food and working out the calorie content is a good way of seeing how much food children need rather than telling them how many calories they need.
Parents are advised early on by professionals if their children’s weight is becoming an issue. There are lots of helpful leaflets and websites that offer parents help to understand what a healthy weight for their child’s height is. It is important that young children are not made aware of any problems with their weight as this may lead to them having problems with food at a later date.
Ideally meal times should be an enjoyable occasion, which can be used to talk and catch up on the day’s events. For some families meal times can become a battleground where parents are continuously attempting to get their children to eat a good range of food. As a result of this children can sometimes develop food phobias. We need to watch out for children who are becoming distressed by food or worried about what they eat. It is important to stay relaxed during meal times. To help keep the atmosphere relaxed families could try to present food in a different way or involve the children in the preparation. Children may be more likely to try new foods if they have helped to prepare the meal.
At my setting we talk about healthy eating by having group time and asking the children what is good for us and which ones are bad for us. We use books to illustrate and also put it on our planning by creating an area or activity for